Phew. Busy week. Yesterday evening, we celebrated Scott’s birthday and my Medical School Gala (#medschoolprom). As part of his birthday present (and for being a champ for standing by me at this event on his birthday), I planned to make him brunch the following morning. But after sacrificing too much sleep during the week and all of the mingling last night, I almost abandoned my Saturday morning brunch plans out of sheer exhaustion. Despite the tired eyes, the thought of braving the brunch lines on Valentine’s Day shoved me right back into the kitchen, and boy am I glad I stayed! This twist on eggs Benedict topped the charts for best breakfast of all time! Eggs Benedict is usually our brunch item of choice, mainly because it is just too much work for me to coordinate myself. Since this blog is all about pushing my comfort zone in the kitchen, I immediately knew this Lemony Eggs Florentine needed to go on the menu. This meal was smooth, egg runny, and all out fabulous. It was worth 150% of the effort in the kitchen (as well as the amount of sweat that it will take me to run off this much butter). There are a lot of moving parts in this recipe, but I tried my best to reorganize the directions to make it more efficient, From Scratch Stat style of course. The basic outline is: fry bacon, blend hollandaise sauce, sauté spinach, toast muffins, poach eggs, and finally assemble. Since there are so many moving parts, this is the perfect meal to cook with a partner for Valentine’s Day or any other special occasion!
Since Scott’s birthday is so close to Valentine’s Day, I usually try to keep the holiday about him (because I know I would hate sharing the birthday limelight if I were in his shoes). Nonetheless, each year he inevitably does something sweet to make me feel thought of. Earlier this week, on a particularly rough workday, he brought home these gorgeous blooms, and this morning he treated me by grooming the dog and doing more than his share of chores while I made brunch. Happy wife, happy life right?
- 2 large egg yolks
- ½ tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Kosher salt and ground pepper
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 4 slices of bacon
- 5 cups loosely packed fresh spinach, stemmed and roughly chopped
- 1 ½ tablespoons shallots (½ shallot), finely chopped
- 2 English muffins, split
- 4 eggs, poached
- In a large frying pan, fry the bacon over medium heat, turning once, until crisp and browned, about 6 minutes.
- While the bacon is cooking, prepare the hollandaise sauce. In a food processor, combine 2 egg yolks, 1 tablespoon of water, ½ tablespoon lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. With the food processor running slowly add the warm, melted butter through the vent in the lid, and blend until the sauce is thick and smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning. (If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more water to thin it.) Transfer the sauce to a spouted measuring cup, cover and set aside.
- When the bacon has finished cooking, transfer to paper towels to blot off excess fat. Pour bacon fat off pan and discard. Still keeping the heat at medium, add the chopped shallots to the pan that the bacon was just cooked in. Sauté for 1 minute scraping the remaining bacon bits up. Add chopped spinach, stir to coat, cover and cook until spinach is wilted (approximately 3 minutes). When spinach is cooked squeeze out any excess liquid, cover and set aside.
- When you are ready to assemble, toast the English muffins under the broiler (cut side up) or in the toaster and poach the eggs.** While the eggs are poaching, top each toasted muffin half with 1 spoonful of spinach mixture and 1 slice of bacon (halved). Lay a freshly poached egg atop the bacon. Pour some (2-3 tablespoons) hollandaise sauce on each pair of eggs, and serve immediately.
- Fill a deep sauté pan/pot with 3 inches of water (about half full). Stir in 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Bring the water to an almost boil. (You want to see small bubbles forming on the bottom of the pot, but you never want to let it outright boil.) While the water is heating, crack an egg into a mug. When the water has just barely reached a boil, stir the water to create a vortex. Gently lower the lip of the cup into the center of the vortex so the egg tips slowly into the pan. Keep pan at almost boil (around medium heat), cooking for 3-4 minutes until whites are opaque. Remove the eggs from the water with a skimmer or slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess moisture. (This only cooks 1 egg at once, so I had 2 pots going.) Poaching eggs takes practice and a watchful eye, but it is easier than it looks. Another good method to try, originally from America's Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook: http://www.annies-eats.com/2015/01/08/polenta-with-mushrooms-kale-caramelized-onion-and-poached-egg/